Phase IV: South Island, New Zealand
It's a curious thing, fate. First it makes you think it doesn't exist - that everything is just a big mess of entwining coincidences. Then it places you into the hands of generous events that make you start wondering about its existence. Finally, it reveals itself by placing you inside a dream where coincidence matters as much as the side on which a twig from an apple tree lands. Fate, curious as a child under an oak, witnessing the miracle of a falling acorn.
On pruning apple trees.
To make an apple tree grow and give fruit generously, you have to prune it regurlarly. Summer pruning is what you do before the actual growing season starts - when it's on the verge of beginning. The idea behind summer pruning is to get rid of the new-growth shoots that hinder the sunlight from penetrating to the branches with the fruit.
For a succesful prune you have to know how much to cut the new-growth. If you cut too much, you will disable the shoot from growing further the next season. If cut too little, the pruning has no effect. A good measurement for pruning is so that the new-growth branch is left with two leaves - give or take a few hard-to-reach branches where the new-growth will be left with much more leafing. Don't worry if you cut too much or too little: the part of the branch that is being cut down will grow back on the next season, lengthening the tree's life span once again.
Pruning an apple tree will also give it back its form, a round shape, not a spiky bush with leafy antennas reaching for the sky. A garden will enjoy a round tree rather than having shapeless deformations of green.
When you prune your life you take out something to make room for something else to grow. Take away something small at first: no sugar with your morning coffee, sunflower seeds with lunch, no TV after dinner. After a while you will begin to notice that pruning something small away from your life has given room for fruit to grow in other parts of it. You have read more books, you have enjoyed the company of your children, you have taken up a new sport. Prune a bit a more each time, and notice how your life is beginning to be full of the things that you have always wanted to fill it with.
A pruned tree is in better shape than a not pruned one -such is life as well!